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03-26-2010, 10:16 AM
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Combination of a lot of things

The perfect talent is a combination of a lot of things:
Size and strength: You have to be just big and strong enough, means not the bigger the better or the stronger the better, you just have to be big enough, let's say in modern and future hockey, if you are a forward you are big enough if you are 5.11 or bigger and you should have a frame with the potential filling out with 190 or more. If you are a d-man or a goalie you should be 6.00 or bigger, maybe as a goalie and a shut-down-dman 6.01 or even 6.02 or bigger. It doesn't mean that you won't become a hockey-player if you are smaller or not as strong but it means it will be a disadvantage.

In addition one of the most important abilities in prospects is the ability to learn to improve, to adapt what teachers tell. So it's a good thing as a scout to try to know the young players already when they are 15, judge and rank them and then follow their progress until their draft-year and then judge and rank them again. This result is always very interesting and it's not very often that the best 15 year old will be also the best 18 year old. Further on you need to have the possibilities to have more ice than others and to have the best possible teachers. The more you practice (quantity) and the better you practice (quality) and the faster you learn - the better player you will be. Very important is passion. If you just like to play hockey...this is not enough, you have to really love the game, you have to love to study the game, to watch the game, to play the game. If you just like the game and you like also a lot of other things...fair enough, you are a well-rounded person with an interesting life...but you most probably won't become a world-class-hockey-player. Mentally you should have a relaxed personality, composed and calm even in pressure-situations and at the same time you should have a certain positive aggression, competitive, love to compete and keen on winning. In the very end...if we are talking about helps if you have the one or the other outstanding asset, you have to be top10 in the world in either stickhandling, using the body, skating, shooting, hockeysense, vision or whatever. It helps to have this one or two outstanding assets compared to a player who is good in everything but misses the one or the other really excellent, outstanding asset. Personality-wise it also helps if you have a certain level of egoism. If you have an altruistic personality like Mother Theresa you won't become a world-class hockey-player. YOU have to improve and YOU have to do everything that helps YOU improving. I don't mean that you have to have a highly egoistic personality - because this will not help you overall - but a bit more egoistic than the average would be just perfect. Watch the surroundings of a player. If his father was a good player and this father cares about the son's definitely helps. If you know that the player takes on his own responsibility additional power-skating-lessons e.g. - it definitely helps. If you know that the prospect is studying games on the video and tries to identify passing-lanes or whatever...shooter-strategies (if you are a goalie) - it definitely helps. If the player has at least an average intelligence - it definitely helps. Again...not the more intelligence the better player you will's just good enough if you have an average or better intelligence, average is enough. Don't overrate tactical discipline and disciplined defensive positioning in players who are really young, this is the easiest part to learn when you are older, but if you can't control the puck, if you can't won't learn this when you are 20. E.g. I have seen a couple of high-end Russian talents becoming great NHLers although they lacked completely tactical discipline when they were 16, 17 or 18. On the other hand I have seen enough young Swiss players who play so disciplined in a system and know already with 15 years how to close passing-lines and how to play the game without the puck - so they are able to compete in games, in terms of results - but in the end, nearly nobody of them did reach the hockey-olymp, the NHL, because they didn't develop the basic-skills enough (handskills, skating, moves, dekes, puckcontrol, physical strength). All this is from my 12 years experience as a scout for Central Scouting Europe. Of course there are other aspects but I dont' want to go too deep in this thread. Any comment and critics to my opinion is very welcome and appreciated. I think this is a very interesting topic. Thomas, Central Scouting Europe NHL, Scout Switzerland/Germany

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